Hundreds participate in First Nations protest in Windsor
First Nations protestors descended on Windsor and headed toward the Ambassador Bridge in a peaceful, yet boisterous march against the federal government.
Hundreds of supporters made the trek down the Highway 401 for a demonstration at the bridge.
Although it was officially called a Unity Walk, many were carrying Idle No More signs in support of the national Aboriginal day of action.
Chief Joe Miskokomon of the Thames First Nations says the protest was held at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge because of its historic significance.
“This is our traditional territory, where treaties were originally signed,” says Miskokomon. “This is where our people fought. This is part of our land.”
He admits the protest was an inconvenience for some.
“But we've been inconvenienced for 175 years,” he says.
Protest organizers say they but did not intend to block traffic at the border crossing, but Huron Church Road northbound was stalled around noon Wednesday. Transport trucks were being allowed through shortly after, but with major delays.
Windsor police Chief Al Frederick said on Twitter “the Windsor Police Service is working with Idle No More marchers to minimize the impact on travellers and to ensure order and public safety in our community.”
The group is protesting the federal government’s Bill C-45, which has already been passed. The omnibus budget bill includes changes to the Indian Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and the Fisheries Act among others.
First Nations people say this event was about education, making sure all Canadians are aware of what they're fighting for.
At least six bus loads and 12 cars full of protesters gathered in Tilbury Wednesday morning. A small police presence was on scene as about 1,000 people travelled down the 401.
OPP warned motorists of potential slowdowns due to demonstrator activity. Traffic was moving about 40 kilometres per hour for most of the journey towards Windsor.